Labour will today use an Opposition Day Debate to call on the Government to bring forward infrastructure investment and build thousands more affordable homes as new figures show the failure of the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan.
Analysis of figures published by the Government of its ‘infrastructure pipeline’ shows:
* Only seven of the 576 projects (1.2 per cent) are ‘completed’ or ‘operational’. Most of these are road schemes which began under the Labour government, including one which started construction in 2007.
* Just 18.2 per cent of the projects listed are said to have ’started’ or to be ‘in construction’ or ‘under construction’.
In addition, Labour will highlight figures showing that in the first three years of this Government capital investment is £12.8 billion lower than the plans George Osborne inherited from Labour. This follows Nick Clegg’s admission that the Government had cut capital investment too far.
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, responding to the vote on the Equal Marriage Bill in the House of Commons, said:
“This is a proud day and an important step forward in the fight for equality in Britain.
“The overwhelming majority of Labour MPs supported this change to make sure marriage reflects the value we place on long-term, loving relationships whoever you love.
“Equal marriage builds on Labour’s successes in Government which include the repeal of Section 28, equalising the age of consent, the introduction of civil partnerships and changes to the rules governing adoption.”
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, commenting on tomorrow’s equal marriage vote, said:
“I’ll be voting for equal marriage in the House of Commons and I’ll be doing so proudly.
“I will be doing so in a proud Labour tradition which saw us repeal Section 28, equalise the age of consent, introduce new rules on adoption and introduce civil partnerships.
“I’ll be voting for equal marriage for a very simple reason: I don’t think that the person you love should determine the rights you have. That’s why I’ll be voting for equal marriage, along with the rest of the shadow cabinet.
“I’ll be urging other Labour MPs to maximise our vote so that we can get a decisive majority in the House of Commons, it can then pass through the House of Lords and we can get it into legislation.
“When we do, it will be another important step forward in the fight for equality in Britain.”
Labour is today supporting a Private Members Bill, sponsored by Thomas Docherty MP, Labour Member of the Defence Committee, which aims to strengthen the sanction for those who commit a crime against service personnel, heard in the House of Commons.
The Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill makes an amendment to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to make it that certain offences committed towards members of the armed forces shall be treated as ‘aggravated’. This will apply to members of the Regular and Reserve Forces, veterans and their family members.
Labour has campaigned for greater protections for the Armed Forces after research revealed they still experience discrimination and abuse. It was revealed that more than one in five members of the Forces said they had experienced strangers shouting abuse at them while wearing their uniform in public in the UK in the last five years. Nearly one in twenty said they had experienced violence or attempted violence.
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, in an article for today’s Sun, wrote:
“This week, we learnt a shocking fact about Britain.
“Among the major European countries, we are in the relegation zone when it comes to youth unemployment.
“Only crisis-hit Spain has higher numbers of young unemployed than the UK.
“Nearly one million British youngsters cannot find work, and tens of thousands have been seeking jobs for more than a year. That is bad for our country.
“We need a plan to use the talents of every young person, and it’s time we did something to help the 50 per cent of youngsters who don’t go to university.
“We need a new generation of skilled workers and new apprenticeships.
“So Labour’s plan is to say that every big firm that gets a contract with the Government must commit to training young people for high-skilled jobs.
“In the new £33 billion high speed rail project linking major cities, we have a massive opportunity.
Ivan Lewis MP, Labour’s Shadow Development Secretary, speaking at an event organised by aid charity CAFOD this evening, said:
I want to dedicate my speech tonight to two women and group of young men I met in Goma, Eastern DRC on my visit with World Vision only last week.
One woman told me how her home had been surrounded by troops from one of the many militias in Eastern DRC. She was raped so violently that she suffered unspeakable physical damage and was left unconscious. That same night her mother and brother were murdered. Another told me how 3 soldiers from another militia had gang raped her and left her for dead. In the same attack her husband and three children were taken away and she never saw them again. Every day these women cope with emotional and physical scars which may lessen over time but will never heal. These 2 women are not only victims of the impunity which is a stain on the East of DRC but also of the underlying causes.
A state unable to offer basic security to its citizens, militias some of whom both recently and over a number of years have been supported by Rwanda and other neighbouring countries recruiting young men sometimes boy soldiers who see no other way of having a stake in their society and the extreme poverty which crushes all hope.
Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, in a speech entitled ‘Whole-Person Care A One Nation approach to health and care for the 21st Century’, said today at the King’s Fund:
Today I open Labour’s health and care policy review.
For the first time in 20 years, our Party has the chance to rethink its health and care policy from first principles.
Whatever your political views, it’s a big moment.
It presents the chance to change the terms of the health and care debate.
That is what One Nation Labour is setting out to do.
For too long, it has been trapped on narrow ground, in technical debates about regulation, commissioning, competition.
It is struggling to come up with credible answers to the questions that the 21st century is asking with ever greater urgency.
I want to change the debate by opening up new possibilities and posing new questions of my own, starting with people and families and what they want from a 21st century health and care service.
Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, said today at the Oxford Media Convention:
This time last year when we met:
* Lord Justice Leveson was conducting his Inquiry.
* Mark Thompson was Director-General of the BBC.
* Jimmy Savile was a national treasure.
* Jeremy Hunt was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and;
* We were eagerly discussing what might be in the Communications Bill.
* We’ve got the landmark Leveson Report.
* Mark Thompson is no longer the Director-General of the BBC – and nor is the man who replaced him.
* Jimmy Savile is now a national monster.
* Following my calls for the sacking of Jeremy Hunt he’s been promoted – Maria Miller is now our Secretary of State.
* And it looks as if the Communications Bill is never going to materialise.
Stephen Twigg MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, entitled A Blueprint for One Nation Education: Vocational Education, said today at Policy Exchange:
I am delighted to have the opportunity this morning to set out my thinking on the future of vocational education in this country.
I want to thank David and Policy Exchange for providing me with this platform and for the important contribution that you are making to this debate.
The report that you published earlier this week reveals both the challenges and opportunities we face in delivering a vocational education system that will strengthen our country’s standing in the world.
We can only achieve lasting and sustainable reform if there is a coalition of support across politics, business and of course amongst parents, teachers and students themselves.
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said:
“Tomorrow’s speech by David Cameron will define him as a weak Prime Minister, being driven by his party, not by the national economic interest.
“In October 2011, he opposed committing to an in/out referendum because of the uncertainty it would create for the country. The only thing that has changed since then is he has lost control of his party and is too weak to do what is right for the country.
“Everyone knows that the priority for Britain is the jobs and growth that we need. We have had warning after warning from British business about the dangers of creating years of uncertainty for Britain.
“This speech will do nothing for a young person looking for work, for a small business worried about a loan, for the family whose living standards are squeezed.
“Britain needs a Prime Minister who is making change happen now in Europe, ensuring that we put jobs and growth ahead of austerity and unemployment.”